earthquakeThe European Commission is allocating €2.5 million in humanitarian assistance to the worst-affected victimsof the earthquake that shook the Philippines on 15 October.

This aid will provide shelter, water and sanitation and primary health care – all essential priorities in the aftermath of the disaster that wiped out the homes and livelihoods of around 350,000 people. The Commission’s humanitarian aid will also support the management of evacuations sites.

“A natural calamity has disrupted again the lives of millions in the Philippines. In the last months strong typhoons devastated the North and Southern part of the archipelago, and two weeks ago a major seismic upheaval hit its central islands. The European Commission is ready to bring immediate relief and hope to those in need, with humanitarian assistance focused on meeting their basic needs but also looking at enhancing their resilience”,  said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. “It’s one of world’s most disaster-prone countries, but we can still minimize the impact of current and future catastrophes by strengthening vulnerable populations’ capacities on preparedness and response.”

Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner fo...

Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The decision to extend support is based on the assessment of two humanitarian experts of the European Commission who were deployed to the affected zone within hours of the earthquake.

This is just the latest example of the significant humanitarian support provided by the European Commission in the Philippines. In response to Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), €7 million were made available in February to help rebuild the devastated communities, in addition to the €3 million released just after the cyclone hit South-Eastern Mindanao. Following flooding caused by Typhoon Trami (Maring), the Commission allocated €200 000 to help the affected, and further €300 000 in early October to assist those displaced by the conflict in Zamboanga.

What happenned? On 15 October 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Region VII of the Philippines, causing serious damage mostly in the islands of Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor. Over 200 people were killed, hundreds got injured and 3.1 million are affected. Thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed, roads and bridges blocked or collapsed, power lines cut and water supplies interrupted. Over 350,000 people have been displaced with 80 per cent living in makeshift shelters outside their homes and in open public places (evacuation centers). Bohol and Cebu government authorities declared a state of calamity.

The Government of the Philippines is leading the relief operation, primarily focused on restoring roads, bridges, electricity and water systems, distributing food and water and providing psycho-social support. Nevertheless, substantial needs remain on the ground and on 21 October 2013 national authorities welcomed the United Nations’ offer to contribute to the emergency interventions.

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